The 16 teams are:
EnVyUs – 3/1 – bet365, Betway
Fnatic – 10/3 – bet365, Paddy Power
Team SoloMid – 10/3 – bet365, Paddy Power
Virtus.pro – 6/1 – bet365, Betway
Natus Vincere – 14/1 – bet365, Betway
Ninjas in Pyjamas – 14/1 – bet365, Paddy Power, Betway
G2 Kinguin – 16/1 – bet365, Betway
Luminosity Gaming – 20/1 – bet365, Betway
Cloud9 – 20/1 – bet365, Paddy Power, Betway
mousesports – 25/1 – bet365, Betway
Team Liquid – 33/1 – bet365, Paddy Power, Betway
CLG – 33/1 – bet365, Betway
Titan – 55/1 – Paddy Power
FlipSid3 – 60/1 – Paddy Power
Team Dignitas – 80/1 – bet365, Betway
Vexed Gaming – 125/1 – bet365, Paddy Power, Betway
Just by qualifying for the major the above 16 teams have guaranteed themselves much needed revenue (especially for the smaller teams) through sticker and signature sales, but it’s the $100,000 first place prize that they’ll all be after.
We will focus on our top three teams who one of our experts, Ben, believes could realistically fight it out for the final major of the season.
As previous champions Fnatic rank highly on many people’s lists. They seem to pull victories out of the fire from impossible situations, much like the Dust2 game vs EnVy at the last major. Since ESL One Cologne they haven’t been performing at the level that they’d expect by their high standards, failing to reach the final of the $250k ESL ESEA Pro League Dubai Invitational and falling at the final hurdle at the Champion of Champions event, with a prize pot of $100k, put on by Gfinity. Undoubtedly they’d take a major win over either of these events but that’s a significant amount of prize money that they’ve missed out on. Not good for a team that would like to see themselves as the best in the world.
Statistically, Fnatic have the best win rate of any team in the major vs the top teams: 67%. Their frag happy players enjoy a KPR of 3.6, yet again the highest kills per round of any team.
Fnatic will come into this tournament as marginal favourites however EnVyUs will be snapping at their heels.
Always the bridesmaid and never the bride at the majors, the boys in blue did taste success at the recent Gfinity Champion of Champions tournament where they beat Fnatic in a thrilling final. Despite that being a 4 team tournament, it was the best 4 teams around with the exception of TSM. I honestly thought for a very long time that EnVyUs would beat Fnatic at the last major. They were outplaying them and it was on par with watching exhibition CounterStrike. Toying with Fnatic ultimately came back to bite them as they choked big time and ended up losing, which visibly left KennyS with a tear in his eye.
EnVyUs won’t want a repeat of that capitulation and are seeking revenge. They took their first step towards getting over the ESL Cologne disappointment by beating Fnatic at Gfinity but can they hold their nerve should they meet them again in the final? We’d love to say yes because nothing would satisfy us more than EnVyUs winning a major. They have been backed in to favouritism and winning is possible if they bring their A game. KennyS is playing like a man possessed since his switch from Titan and we think he’ll carry EnVy over the winning line in first place.
The fantastic five: Neo and Taz have been playing CounterStrike back when most of you were still in primary school. They’ve been there, done it and won everything that you can win – aside from an official major in CS:GO. Their track record hasn’t directly converted to consistent victories in CSGO but they’ve got painfully close to stringing a decent run of events together. They recently won the $250k invitational event in Dubai and placed 2nd at the PGL Finals, which are probably the two most significant events in recent months. Given how CS:GO evolves and how certain teams peak at certain times, looking too far back can be more of a hindrance than a help, so their historic results ultimately mean very little, but their ability to stay at the top of the scene for so long tells you all you need to know.
At the last major in Cologne Virtus.Pro got painfully close to beating Fnatic in the semi-finals. They dominated them 16-6 on Mirage, then took a commanding lead on Inferno but couldn’t see it out, going down 14-16. After a soul crushing defeat, Virtus.Pro then had to compete on de_olofmeister (Cobblestone) and subsequently lost 16-7. Who knows what would have happened if they’d been able to shut the game out on Inferno?
Virtus.pro are a live betting proposition. Luck is required to get you over the line but if they get a favourable draw for the knockout stages, and their recent standout player in Snax is on fire, you would not be surprised to see Virtus.pro in the finals, where they’d have the chance to make history.